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Posts tagged: Wade Redden

Was All The Redden Heartache Worth It?

Given all the criticism, cap difficulties and roster management issues that were among the fallout from that horrible Redden deal; were they all worth it if Glen Sather and the Rangers finally learned their lessons?

We’ve discussed many times over the past couple of years how Sather has actually performed admirably since the summer of Wade. Since that summer, Redden has provided the organisation with a highly praised mentor down on the farm – an unexpected bonus and certainly not the desired effect of his signing.

However what is most obvious since the day the Rangers signed an even then fading Redden is the absence of any further crazy deals. Yes, Boogaard’s deal was a little generous but at the time he was an organisational need. Yes, Mike Rupp’s may be a year too long (wait to see how that plays out first) and yes, Brad Richards’ deal is one of crazy length but the Rangers got the best free agent for a great cap hit, took advantage of CBA loop holes and paid less than other teams offered because the player wanted to come to New York.

The point here is that after all the (justified) media and fan mocking of the Rangers for the Redden deal the club has focussed on integrating youth into the line-up and kept on adding prospect depth to the franchise. The club has resisted any obscene acquisitions and has cut away veterans if their play didn’t deserve retention. Maybe Wade Redden’s deal gave the Rangers two things; a great mentor in the minors and a financial conscience? Who’d have thought it?

Valentenko Clears Waivers

In a bit of surprising yet unsurprising news, no claims were put in for any of the players placed on waivers over the weekend.  That means Pavel Valentenko cleared waivers and can be assigned to the CT Whale.  I said that if anyone were to be claimed on waivers, it would be Tenk, but it’s good to see he is still with the organization.

Also clearing was Wade Redden, but that was expected.

Del Zotto Could Benefit From Playing With Redden

To say that Michael Del Zotto had a rough sophomore year would be like saying Paris Hilton is only a little bit of a…err…a little bit promiscuous.  Del Zotto struggled so mightily that he was demoted to the AHL, where he promptly broke a finger.  Needless to say, he did not have an enjoyable year, and it led to vicious fans saying he was a bust, over rated, and that the Rangers should trade him.  But have no fear, Wade Redden is here!

I mean that seriously folks.  Redden has worked wonders with many of the Rangers defensive prospects, including Tomas Kundratek and Jyri Niemi.  However, his masterpiece was his work with a certain prospect that has become a staple on the Rangers blue line. Rick Carpiniello nicknames him McMonster.  His name is Ryan McDonagh…perhaps you’ve heard of him?

McDonagh struggled out of the gate in the AHL, as adjusting to the speed of the professional game seemed to be a bit much for the youngster. Insert Redden, who took the kid under his wing and the rest, as they say, is history.

Why not try to see if Redden can work his magic on Del Zotto? Both play a similar style of game, and Del Zotto’s issues seem to be a bit easier to deal with that McDonagh’s.  After all, Del Zotto appears to have adjusted to the speed, he just can’t seem to pass the puck anymore.  Redden, at one point in his career, was a premier NHL defenseman (insert “best first pass in the game” joke here).  But seriously, if you didn’t want him on your team in the early 2000’s, you were crazy.

Del Zotto’s biggest issue is that he is forcing that home run pass, instead of making that simple pass up the ice to start the rush.  That was a pass that Redden mastered before his game went the way of the dodo.  This post is not designed to make Redden into a super hero, but it is designed to say that maybe, just maybe, Del Zotto could benefit from an extended stay with the CT Whale and with Redden as his defensive partner.

The talent is clearly there in Del Zotto, and the kid is barely even 21 years old. There is plenty of time for him to get his head back in the game and turn into a productive defender. Even if he just turns his offense around to the point where he can contribute, it’s a win. There are so many defensive minded guys on the blue line, that having one that can actually put the puck in the net would be beneficial to the Rangers, not detrimental.

Redden has worked wonders with the prospects, and he has played a significant role in the development of these prospects into legitimate players and defensive depth. Maybe it’s time to work with the one defenseman whose game most closely resembles his in his prime?

Wade Redden Not On Training Camp List

Although the official training camp roster is not officially released, Steve Zipay is reporting that veteran defenseman Wade Redden will not be invited to camp this year.  Although none of us expected him to be on the Rangers this year, it is a bit surprising to see that he won’t even be invited to camp.  Redden was an invaluable member of the CT Whale last season, serving as a mentor to the young defensemen.  Every young player that was paired with Redden showed great improvements with his game as the season progressed.

This may be the first step in voiding Redden’s contract, which is to be expected at some point.  Redden probably wants another shot at the NHL, and his contract can only be voided if he does not report to the Whale.  I’m just speculating here, but it’s possible that since Redden is not on the camp roster, that he plans to part ways with the Rangers soon.  I would think that if he had plans to stay with the team, that he would be at camp as a mentor/on-ice coach for the defensemen, as he was all of last year.

Rangers, Prospect and Whale Puck Talk (Part one)

The Rangers’ progression in recent years and the foundations for future successes have, in part, been built through prospect development and the presence of a good farm system. For a while now, Hockey’s Future have rated the Rangers’ prospect pipeline highly. A lot of that passes through the Connecticut Whale and the AHL.

Brian Ring, on behalf of the Whale – for the second time – has kindly agreed to answer some questions for us about the Whale and in particular some of the Rangers’ prospects expected to see ice time on the farm. Here’s part one of the latest Q&A series, focussing on a few of the young players that may (or may not) be with the Whale this season.

  • The CT Whale promise to be much changed this coming season. Which forward do you expect a breakout offensive season from?

Brian: Carl Hagelin. The team figures to have some offensive depth, and should Hagelin not make the Rangers this season it would seem that he’s set up to have a very nice year given his skill set.

  • Regarding Tommy Grant; following a solid college career Tommy had an equally solid yet brief stint last season with the Whale, leading to a professional contract. What can Rangers fans expect from Tommy?

Brian: With Tommy Grant, I think fans could expect a two-way player that isn’t afraid to get in the dirty areas of the ice. He has decent size and quite a bit of skill, and as you mentioned he spent four years in college for Alaska-Anchorage and will be more seasoned than some players in the AHL this season. I think he’s a good candidate to put up some real numbers this year.

  • Another player that had a brief cameo with the Whale last year was Andrew Yogan. Despite his trade within the OHL, do you expect Andrew to be a Whale player and if so, what impact over a full season can be reasonably expected?

Brian: I think it depends on if the Rangers end up taking Hagelin or Bourque with them out of camp, right now looking at a depth chart of potential forwards in Connecticut it doesn’t look like there will be room for Yogan. That is not a slight on Yogan, he is a very skilled and talented young player, but I think the extra year of over-age eligibility might hurt his chances of playing for the Whale this season. If he does end up here, he certainly didn’t look out of place with two goals in his first pro game, and he totalled three points total in just two games. I think he would fit in quite well here

  • What hopes to do the two organisations (NYR and CT) have for relative unknown (at least to most fans), Kelsey Tessier?

Brian: While not the biggest guy on the ice, Tessier raised some eyebrows with a pretty impressive rookie season (10-18-28 in 75 games). He is a smart player that sees the ice well and despite the fact he is smaller than most of the other players out there, he plays very hard and competes at a high level every night. Tessier can certainly be an asset in Connecticut as a third or fourth line energy player and could maybe even play the same role in New York one day.

  • Wade Redden aside (assuming he starts the year, still a member of the organisation); who will be counted on for leadership in Connecticut this coming season and why?

Brian: The team has been lucky to have a healthy locker room culture where everyone seems to do their part to push each other and be supportive. But returning alternate captains Jared Nightingale and Kris Newbury are both guys that will be respected leaders, Brendan Bell, should he be here has a ton of experience too. But again, I think everyone takes it upon themselves to be a leader and a motivator on the ice and in the room.

 

Once again, a big thank you to both Brian Ring and the CT Whale for participating with the Q&A. It’s always interesting to hear insight from ‘within the system’. Be sure to follow both Brian and the Whale on twitter at @brianring and @CTWhale. Be sure to check back later this week for the next part of the Q&A where we discuss even more prospects and the CT Whale’s upcoming season. 

The Prospect and Whale Low-down (part 2)

Earlier this week we posted the first part of our discussion with Brian Ring and Bob Crawford from the CT Whale. Both men discussed the Connecticut Whale future as well as the prospects that could make their way to the Rangers. Today we have the second part of the discussion with the final part coming in the next few days. Brian and Bob make some really interesting comments throughout the interview and give some attention to some prospects that a lot of readers may not have on their radars for the coming season. Happy reading.

 

Which prospect do you think has the most to prove at training camp next summer?

Bob: I don’t know if you would call him a prospect or an NHLer who experienced a hiccup, but to me Michael Del Zotto is in a position really to help himself at camp.  It’s a new start after sort of a humbling second year of pro, and with what he can contribute on the power play, if he rediscovers a significant bit of his rookie mojo, I think he could easily put himself right back into the mix.

Brian: Evgeny Grachev. I think this is a huge year for him, even though he is still young. It will be important for him to put it all together on a consistent basis, everyone knows that the talent and skill are there. Whether or not he makes the team out of camp, I think it’s important that he puts people on notice and really, I think he will, I think it’s going to be a big production year for him.

With all the new signings and expired contracts, it looks like there is going to be significant roster turnover this summer for the Whale. How does that affect the offseason plans?

Bob: That kind of thing, I find, doesn’t have that much effect on the AHL club.  The affiliate is almost always more affected by who steps up in camp as a surprise to grab a spot, or what kind of injuries or salary cap issues the parent team runs into.  Most AHL veterans, like Jeremy Williams for example, are under one-year contracts, so you naturally expect those guys to come and go as the years go by.

Brian: I don’t think it really changes anything, that kind of turnover is really just a fact of life in this league. Every year we seem to start off with a younger and younger team but they pull together and play winning hockey. Having a young core might mean bringing in a few veterans to complement the presence of Kris Newbury and (likely) Wade Redden, whether that means qualifying John Mitchell or signing another AHL free agent or two. As far as how it affects the front office here directly, it means more tweeting, Facebook posts and press releases, which is always a good thing for public relations exposure and getting the Whale brand out there.

Is there any new signing or acquisition that you are particularly excited to see play for the Whale next season?

Bob: After watching what he was able to help the U.S. National Junior Team achieve, knowing his bloodlines and having seen his older brother play very effectively in the AHL, and knowing his Junior accomplishments, I am eager to see what kind of pro player Ryan Bourque can be, if he ends up with the Whale.

Brian: I’m pretty excited to see Carl Hagelin play a full season as I’m sure many fans of Rangers prospects are. We only got to see him in a couple playoff games last year since he helped take Michigan to the Frozen Four, but he looked good in that limited action. Also excited to see Ryan Bourque and Tim Erixon, should those guys play here next season. I don’t want to omit anybody because I always like seeing prospects come in, but those are just the guys that come to mind first.

 

Again, a big thanks to Bob Crawford and Brian Ring of the Connecticut Whale for taking their time to provide their unique insight into the Whale and the Rangers prospects. Check back throughout the week for more great insight about the Rangers biggest prospects and how the guys at the Whale expect the AHL club and their prospects to fare during the coming season! Make sure you follow Brian and the Whale on twitter at @brianring and @CTWhale!

The Summer Cap And Wade Redden

The salary cap for the 2011-2012 season is going to rise, this much we know.  With a rise in the regular salary cap comes a rise in the summer salary cap, which is 10% higher than the regular season cap.  At the projected $62.2 million cap for next season, the summer cap would increase to $68.42 million.  That is an increase of $6.22 million for the summer months of free agency.  This increase becomes essential for the Rangers, as all players that have an NHL contract are added to the summer roster/cap hit.  This means that any player who is signed to an NHL deal, no matter where they played (ie: AHL) will be on the summer cap.  This of course, means that Wade Redden and his $6.5 million cap hit will again become a factor in the Rangers summer plans.

For all intents and purposes, the summer cap rise and the re-introduction of Redden’s contract is a wash.  The $6.5 million cap hit is $300k more than the projected salary cap rise.  On the surface, this looks like a wash, but when looking a little deeper, it essentially forces the Rangers to push up their timeframe for their summer plans.  Gone is the $6 million cushion to sign their targeted unrestricted free agents and get their restricted free agents under contract.  Essentially, the Rangers have to comply with the $62 million cap all summer.

That unfortuntely creates a bit of a problem for the Rangers, who have five key restricted free agents to sign in the summer.  The Rangers faced a similar problem in the summer of 2009, when they were negotiating with Brandon Dubinsky the first time around.  Dubinsky didn’t re-sign until the middle of September.  While it’s unlikely that the negotiations with all five RFAs will take that long, it is a scenario that may have to occur to stay cap compliant.  The good thing is that the Rangers can re-waive Redden in September, and use that freed up space as they see fit for the RFAs. 

The Rangers can also employ a strategy similar to what they did with Henrik Lundqvist in the summer of 2007.  For those that recall, the Rangers had just signed Chris Drury and Scott Gomez to monster deals, but still had to sign their franchise goaltender, and had little room to do so.  So the Rangers orchestrated a one-year deal with Lundqvist for $4.25 million, with the promise of extending that contract in January, when the extension wouldn’t count against the current year’s cap.  In February of 2008, Lundqvist signed his six-year, $41.25 million deal.

If need be, the Rangers can employ this kind of strategy with a player they see as a clear cut future of the franchise.  The first player that comes to mind here is Ryan Callahan.  There is a school of thought that says lock up Cally first, as he is the future captain of the team.  However, employing the “Hank Strategy” –as I’m going to call it– gives the Rangers significant short-term flexibility while trying to be cap compliant.  It is clear Cally is the future, as was Hank in 2007.  It shows a commitment to the player and the team.

The re-introduction of Redden’s salary to the summer cap isn’t a good thing for the Rangers, but it’s not something that will hamstring the Rangers from making the moves necessary to dress a team that is an improvement from last year’s team.  The more you look at it, the more it becomes an “it is what it is” scenario.  Luckily for the Rangers, they have done a good job clearing salary cap space.  With the projected rise in the cap, it’s still likely that even with Redden’s contract on the summer cap, they will be able to make all the moves they plan on making this summer.

Cap Increasing; Increases Rangers Likelihood of Spending Spree?

Any Rangers fans that thought the Rangers would be relatively inactive during the free agent frenzy starting July 1st, well you were probably going to be wrong and if you weren’t wrong before the news broke about an increasing cap limit then you certainly are now.

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, speaking at a Lawyers’ conference in D.C. recently discussed the increase in league revenues and he also made mention of likely cap increases. The revenue for the league expects to rise, close to $3 billion, up from $2.7 billion.

“It appears our salary cap will be going up.” Projects new cap will be $60.5M to $63.5M, up from $59.4M this yr.

So, looking at the middle ground as a safe bet the cap could be close to $62m, up considerably from the current limit of £59.4 million. What does this mean for the Rangers? Well simply put, potentially a great deal. The Rangers do have important roster players to re-sign in Callahan, Dubinsky, Anisimov and Boyle (among others) yet looking specifically at Callahan and Dubinsky – even if they more than double their salaries there will be a lot of money left. This cap increase of course has a knock on effect throughout the line up. Chris Drury’s potential buy out becomes easier to absorb (making it more likely?), Wojtek Wolski and players such as Erik Christensen’s future may also be under threat. So much, so many players are affected by the final cap figure.

The Rangers have a big decision to make. If Sather and his team think the core is set and it ‘merely’ needs some top level talent added to it to become a serious contender in the East you may indeed see the likes of Drury jettisoned. With the extra cap space Drury’s departure creates, in addition to the cap space created by the truly awful circumstances around Derek Boogaard the Rangers may become very aggressive in free agency. Given Sather’s free agent dealings in the past however, that makes many fans nervous and for good reason when you think of Redden, Wade and Gomez, Scott to name a few. Of course the Rangers may not be active in free agency……. (Tumbleweed)

The Rangers are almost certainly going to go after Brad Richards. The extra cap space the aforementioned cap fall out creates could see Sather also go after a defenseman such as Kevin Bieksa, Christian Ehrhoff, Tomas Kaberle, James Wisniewski or Joni Pitkanen to name a few. Of course all this speculation about cap space then spirals out of control. Would the Rangers consider going after restricted free agents? Cap space, depth in the organisation and picks may allow Sather to deal for a star such as Shea Weber or an underperforming elite talent such as Zach Bogosian. The mind wanders with all this talk of spending money. All that is left is for the cap figure to be finalised and to watch what Sather does next. Nervous?

 

Wade Redden….The Mentor?

Before I begin, I would like to thank Jess Rubenstein of The Prospect Park for answering my questions regarding Wade Redden in the AHL.

When the Rangers demoted Wade Redden to the AHL, most fans celebrated, however a few were curious about how he would accept his demotion. After his decision to report to the Whale, the curiousness spread throughout the fan base. There were two basic questions here: Would Redden treat the demotion the way other veterans, such as Patrick Rissmiller and Donald Brashear, had treated their demotions, by complaining and being a locker room cancer? Or would Redden be a gentleman and a mentor to the young kids that seem have so much potential? Given Redden’s personality and generally benevolent nature, few should be surprised that he has been a gentleman while in the AHL, and an extremely good mentor to the young defensemen.

For the first few weeks of the season, many raved about how Tomas Kundratek (third round, 2008) was adjusting to the pace of the professional game, and how he was becoming the Whale’s best defenseman. What many overlook is that he was paired with Redden for the opening couple of weeks. As per Jess, Redden helped him adjust to the rigors of the increased competition (Kundratek played in Canadian Juniors prior). Redden also educated the young defenseman in how to move up in the Rangers organization. Kundratek is often passed over by fans in the prospect depth chart, but he really shouldn’t be. His progress this year has been incredible, and Redden is one of the biggest contributors towards this.

After working with Kundratek, Redden was paired with Jyri Niemi, who was acquired from the Islanders over the summer in exchange for a sixth round draft pick. Niemi was a third round pick in 2008 himself, and has some great talent. However, he was never really able to put it all together on a consistent basis until recently. Naturally, Redden has been a positive influence on Niemi, who has finally been able to showcase his talent on a more consistent basis, which has led to more ice time and less healthy scratch time.

Depth on defense is tough to come by, so it is important to develop that talent in the AHL. This is something that Redden has been a big part of this season. For a defenseman making $6.5 million per year, he coul dhave taken his demotion as an insult, the way Rissmiller and Brashear did, and sulked his way through the remainder of his deal. However, the consummate professional that Redden is, he has been a role model for the kids to follow. Rubenstein says that the most important thing is that the kids are listening to Redden, and it is beginning to show on the ice. Redden’s play in New York may have been underwhelming, but he is showing that he can contribute in other ways. With so much negativity towards Redden, it is time Redden got his due for what he is doing in Connecticut.

Wade Redden The Pornstar

Looks like Wade Redden is seeking a second career starring next to Jenna Jameson.

Insert creepy porn music here…